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By : Gülsün S, Selim V, Handan D, A

In the year 2000, a team from Istanbul Technical University (ITU) developed the "Urban m3 - Respect for Life Project", which was aimed at providing shelter for those people who were left homeless as a consequence of the earthquake in 1999, in the districts of Arizli-Kocaeli in Turkey. This earthquake had a catastrophic effect on one of the most densely populated and industrial regions of Turkey whose population accounts about 20 percent of Turkey's total population. In addition to providing shelter, the major objective of this project was to re-establish those humanistic and natural values that had been lost or obscured in respect of the traditional, Turkish life-style and culture, as a result of the rapid urbanisation which took place after the 1950s. In 2000, research was conducted to evaluate the prospective residents' preferences in respect of their future housing and its environment needs. For this purpose, 400 people, who had been living in temporary housing in the area affected by the earthquake, were the target group of an in-depth survey. The main objective of the study was to determine whether the prospective residents' perceptions and evaluations matched the project designed by the ITU's team. It was assumed within the project planning and design that people would prefer the socially, and physically rich environment offered by the project. Based on the research findings, the ideology, philosophy and concepts underlying the "Urban m3 - Respect for Life Project" could be evaluated as an altenative design approach, which provides not only environmental protection and disaster mitigation, but also a high level of socio-cultural satisfaction. Thus, the paper suggests strategies for improved post-disaster (re-)construction.
Keywords : Housing Design, Earthquake, Housing Policy, Residential Quality, Reconstruction

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